With Tottenham completing the signing of Brazil international Paulinho from Corinthians Andre Villas-Boas is beginning to sculpt a squad that many fancy as real contenders for a Premier League challenge next season. But do they really stand a chance? We have a look at their midfield options and compare them to both Manchester United and Manchester City, both of whom will be vying to lift the trophy come May.
Assuming AVB deploys a 4-3-3 formation next season the middle of their team looks sublime. With the aforementioned Paulinho, the defensive outlet Sandro and the creative hub Mousa Dembele Spurs have a trio who will complement each other beautifully. Paulinho is a real athletic box-to-box player who patrols the midriff of the pitch and completes his tasks with minimal fuss, and it looks like he will be sandwiched between Dembele, who is most effective when given a free role in the middle, and Sandro, who was one of the most impressive defensive midfielders in the country before his long-term injury last season.
As well as Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Jake Livermore, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby, Tom Carroll and Clint Dempsey also all fighting for places, the Lilywhites epitomise strength in depth.
Manchester United’s midfield can’t compare, with Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick the only two central players at David Moyes’ disposal. Should Thiago Alcantara secure a switch from Barcelona things will be different.
Both Manchester City and Chelsea prefer the 4-2-3-1 formation, with the former opting for Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure in the holding roles and the latter David Luiz, Ramires or Jon Obi Mikel. Both of these offer a balanced blend with quality in both defence and attack, but Chelsea snatch the title on paper when you consider the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Frank Lampard and new signing Andre Schurrle in the more advanced roles.
It’s going to be an interesting season to say the least, but write Spurs off at your peril.